Going to Seed

“. . .but let the wings take root and the roots fly.” Juan Ramon Jimenez

Summers, I deadhead madly, staving off going to seed.
As if that were the enemy, to be avoided at all cost.
Autumns, I crouch, a paragon of patience,
gathering tiny seeds that store magic,
guarding secrets of their species.
Despite dry and dying,
stately, ornate seed pods mature with singular beauty,
protecting their bundled contents from the elements
until snow blankets the road
and carries them forward, farther.
Howling winds carry milkweed’s silky wings,
blowing them through deep hollows to bloom on different hills.
Jewelweed daughters shimmer and explode,
propelling themselves far from the mother plant,
demanding more room to grow.
Burdock seed sons, impetuous,
latch on to shaggy, unkempt coats,
lumbering toward next year.
Planted firm and sturdy, my own years accumulate
softening seed casings of resistance.
Control, worry, sorry.
I kneel in the familiar gardener’s pose.
I bow my head to seed.


Collective Blessings to the Ancestors


You loved ones in quiet graveyards of centuries and before,
on twisty back roads nearly disappeared from today,
where deer gather at dusk and ghosty white flowers climb with mysterious vines.
You loved ones in graves still fresh,
where the good scent of rich dirt mingles with funeral flowers.
The salty scent of slow tears
trace the lines of loss in your mourners’ faces.

You loved ones, your powdered bones lying lost and quiet, somewhere
for centuries. Grave dust, star dust.
You loved ones with your ashes settled into rough urns of stone,
resting on mantles, or lost in forgotten cupboards of no consequence.

You loved ones: listen.
Your remains gave the spark of you back to the universe.
But the glow of you still glimmers.
At last your daughters are seeking you.
We can almost feel where you are.

Contemplating tattered prayer flags whipped by the north wind,
pondering the dance of trees in the storms,
breathing deep the moss on dark forest floors.
We carry each of your stories yet still know so few.

The language of the dead is difficult for the living.
Loved ones, we pledge this to you: we are learning.

Hymn of Gratitude to a Season

I chose autumn to be born, to move from realms in spiral galaxies that swirled with uncertain and joyful dust,  from starry excitement and pulsing night skies, toward a time created from my mother’s dreaming of my heavenly, absent father.

In a night-time sleeping bag on remote national forest land, there is little distinction between the deeply wooded landscape and the vast open, indigo sky. My eyes ached with the cadence of autumn. I chose my sun sign October time to conceive my son, who carries his bruising bravely. Once, while he played near a gnarled old maple, a brilliant monarch rested on his smiling, open face. Such a hopeful face. So, was he special, to be touched thusly? Or was the monarch injured? Special, injured, intact, broken—what are any of us, then? Who interprets those signs? Who made those words?

When September brought lengthening days, my daughter was born. She perched on bed edges, bouncing to her own musical laughter from beginnings in a distant border town, where campfires and communes held her snug and safe, then she leapt into fabricated city-scapes, where lights shined bright on false freedoms. She ricocheted back to a blue-collar holding cell, and are we all prisoners, then, inside lives that we construct and inside walls that we put up then decorate prettily, to cover some inner chaos?

My own persistent feelings wash up again and again on the edges of these pages.

This is what I know of the difference between wise waiting and dangerous inertia: absolutely nothing.

On stalks supporting dark, drooping heads of the Russian sunflowers after first frost, a busy, up-and-down chipmunk reminds me:  Sun sign in Scorpio, a gift.  It enables me to live into the mystery of things, releasing the need to own answers.

Happy Valentine’s Day

The next time I’m asked what’s so great about aging, I hope I can remember this. It is excerpted from David Whyte’s Living Together.

“ . . .we hunger for maturity, see it not as stasis

but a form of love. We want the stillness and confidence

of age, the space between self and all the objects of the world

honoured and defined, the possibility that everything

left alone can ripen of its own accord . . .”